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PLAYING AROUND

The decline of printed publications is old news; the age of computers has been upon us for quite some time. As magazine sales and subscriptions drop, elements and techniques used in print have evolved to accommodate the shift into a digital world — but not all of them. Print cartoonists are among those now asking themselves a question: How can a craft evolve in the digital world without sacrificing tradition and technique?

"Very Semi-Serious," directed and co-produced by Jacksonville native Leah Wolchok, takes a quirky look at the humor, art and genius of the single panel cartoon. The documentary homes in on the 88-year-old New Yorker magazine and the artists who have helped make it what it is today.

There is a unique likeness between documentaries and cartoons: Both seek to uncover truths about society in an engaging, witty and sometimes confrontational way. Drawn to filmmaking in college, Wolchok said, "it was the beauty of the reality of documentary form that captured my attention."

Diving into this project and interviewing dozens of artists has revealed a lot of hard truths about the nature of the cartoon business, she said.

"Cartoonists face extreme rejection. One out of 15 pieces will be sold, maybe — if they're lucky. It's not uncommon for artists to go weeks at a time without any sold."

The fierce competitiveness of the industry reflects the importance of cartoons; they are no laughing matter.

"Over the last 90 years, the cartoons have represented a chronicle of the world's political issues," Wolchok said. "New Yorker cartoons have provided snapshots of social movements, cultural events and historical controversies for decades."

They are not always laugh-out-loud funny, nor do they always make readers comfortable. Cartoons — specifically those published in the New Yorker — can be subtle, edgy, political statements that shape and express the opinions of generations. 

"People feel a really personal connection to the cartoons …   More

Playing Around

Elvis tribute performer Alex Swindle of Birmingham, Ala., won the eighth annual Ted McMullen I’ll Remember You Elvis tribute competition Jan. 25-26 at the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park in Live Oak.

Swindle had the hip gyrations and look necessary to advance to compete at the Images of the King Championship on Aug. 11-16 at the New Daisy Theater in Memphis.

Jeff Barnes of Evans, Ga., finished second, followed by Atlanta’s Matthew Spalding, Cote Deonath (of Dunnellon), Austin Irby (of Greenville, S.C.) and Tampa’s Jeff LaJess. Chad Hannum, 12, of Palm Coast, won the youth division. Deonath was the audience vote winner. Eighteen Elvis tribute artists competed.

  More

Playing Around

Congratulations to Tim Renshaw for winning our drawing for two tickets to the Johnny Winter concert on Feb. 14 at Ponte Vedra Concert Hall. Renshaw was selected randomly among the readers who posted a perfect score on Folio Weekly's Johnny Winter quiz.   More

PLAYING AROUND

Have you ever gone to an art gallery and wanted to give the artist a piece of your mind? With “Chalk It Up,” that’s the whole point.

“Chalk It Up” at MOCA Jacksonville will allow viewers to interact with art. It is created and curated by five students who are in “The Gallery Space in Contemporary Society” class at the University of North Florida: Anastasia Arango, Xenia Davidoff, Rebecca Ladd, Danielle Micklos and Elizabeth Taber.

Visitors will be provided with chalk to add to the exhibit. It will be part of the regular programming on the museum floor, which is sponsored by Florida Blue. 

Allison Galloway, the director of education for MOCA, worked with the students to create the exhibit.

“There will be questions on the wall, and the viewers can answer them by drawing pictures or words on the walls,” Galloway said. “Every week, there is a different theme, and the question will really make the visitors think.”

Galloway said the exhibit will provide learning opportunities for the students involved and an understanding of both chalk art and interactive exhibits for the public. She said the themes will be entertaining yet mentally challenging.

The exhibit directly fits into the goals of the course.

“The course is designed to provide students with the opportunity to learn the core practices of operating a university art gallery, including gallery management, exhibition design and development, and collections management through various readings on contemporary art practice, research assignments and hands-on experience,” said Amanda McMann, the instructor of the course.

A June 9 reception will be a celebration of all of the students' work with some food and drinks.

Galloway said the exhibit will be an experience the UNF students could not get in a regular class. She said she hopes to create an environment that engages visitors and invites their feedback.    More

PLAYING AROUND

"Antiques Roadshow" has been on PBS since the late 1990s. It is a show that travels across the country throughout the summer, featuring the antiques of those attending and appraising those items.

This will be show's first trip to Jacksonville, but "Antiques Roadshow" has been to Florida five times previously. Executive Producer Marsha Bemko said they wanted to go to a city they had never been to before, and there are not many places they can go to for the first time anymore.

More than 15,000 people registered to attend the show, but ony 3,000 were randomly selected and given a pair of tickets. If you applied for a ticket online by the deadline, April 8, you can use Ticket Checker to check your ticket status.  

The event begins at 8 a.m., and ticket holders will be admited according to the time on their tickets. The last entrance time is 5 p.m., but the event will not end until all items have been appraised.

Each attendee can bring two items and must bring at least one. There are 20 categories in which the attendees' items will be placed and then matched with an appreaiser. The appraisals can be suspenseful and surprising, as usually items are worth either more or less than they were originally thought to be. 

"We know there will be treasures there, and we want to go find them. And we know that more than 15,000 people want to show us their treasures," Bemko said.

Three episodes will be created from the Jackonville visit, plus a "Junk in the Trunk" episode, which will be aired in the spring TV season starting in January. Bemko suggested subscribing to their newsletter for updates on when episodes will appear.

The show will also record a five-minute segment at Norman Sudios on June 7 called "Roadshow's Most Wanted." In the 1920s, Richard Norman, the founder of the studios, made a number of silent adventure films that broke the racial barrier in the film industry by including African-American actors in positive, …   More

PLAYING AROUND

American indie rock bands Minus the Bear, Circa Survive and Now, Now sold out Freebird Live March 25 for four hours of rock ’n’ roll.

Minus the Bear is co-headlining the Waves Overhead tour with Circa Survive for the release of its fifth album “Infinity Overhead.”

Dozens of Pabst Blue Ribbons were thrust into the air as concert goers stood shoulder to shoulder in unanimous agreement of a stellar show.

The threesome from Minnesota, Now, Now, started the night off with a great performance and even sported neon pink Jacksonville Beach tank tops.

Now, Now emits a shoegaze feel with its dreamy, delicate vocal melodies blended with effects of guitars, drums and synthesizers.

The high-energy set catapulted the several intrepid souls into the inevitable moshing and crowd surfing, while some tried to enjoy the music without worrying about getting assaulted.

Crowd surfing was highly encouraged by the energetic lead singer of Philadelphia’s Circa Survive, Anthony Green.

“Let yourself go!” Green screamed. “Fuck Mondays! Stop acting like it’s fucking Monday.”

After Circa Survive’s amped up performance, Green invited everyone out to go swim naked in the ocean.

Minus the Bear started its set with “Steel and Blood,” a song where two become one in the cacophony of a bourbon-soaked car crash.

Soon after Minus the Bear hit the stage, the moshing and crowd surfing stopped, and people enjoyed the music through non-violent dance.

Minus the Bear also delved into older albums and played the crowd’s favorites from “Highly Refined Pirates,” “Menos el Oso,” “Planet of Ice” and “Omni.”

Towards the end of the show, Minus the Bear played the single from which the album is named, “Infinity Overhead”: “Liquid concrete under our feet/Trippin' on the constellations we see/Diamond lightning/Seeing where seams …   More

PLAYING AROUND

Jacksonville native and award-winning vocalist Lauren Elise was featured on the side of a race truck on Feb. 22 during the NextEra Energy Resources 250, a Camping World Truck Series event at Daytona. Elise’s photo appeared on the side of Jennifer Jo Cobb’s No. 10 Koma Unwind Chevrolet truck at Daytona International Speedway.

Elise, 16, currently has airplay on gospel radio stations but is hoping to cross over to country radio. She will be appearing at the next NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, Ky., on June 27 along with Cobb’s race team.

Elise is known for her outreach program, “Be Significant” #PositiveImpact campaign. Her campaign is designed to offer a voice of change and hope for those affected by bullying or thoughts of suicide.

For more information on Elise or her “Be Significant” campaign, visit laurenelisemusic.com and besignificantcampaign.com.   More

Playing Around

Katt Williams' show tonight (Feb. 8), planned for Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena, was canceled due to weather conditions, according to a news release from SMG.

His travel arrangements from the West Coast to the East Coast were changed, preventing him from performing in Jacksonville.

Refunds are available at the point of purchase, according to the statement. For more information, contact the Veterans Memorial Arena at 630-3900.   More

PLAYING AROUND

Bookstore owner Ron Chamblin received a birthday surprise any literature lover would enjoy.

For his April 26 birthday, Jennifer O’Donnell, Chamblin's girlfriend and Downtown store manager, teamed up with creative writing teacher Liz Flaisig to put together an anthology of poems and short stories created by Douglas Anderson School of the Arts students.

All the profits from the $18 book will go to the school. 

“Liz and I talked about doing it back in August,” O’Donnell said. “We thought it would be fun to publish the kids' writing.”

O’Donnell said the book was made to thank Chamblin for his generosity.

The 71-year-old Chamblin seemed genuinely surprised.

“It was like ‘surprise,'” Chamblin said. “All of a sudden it was in front of me and now its moving into something bigger.”

Chamblin will begin publishing works of any local writers who are interested and whenever he can.

O’Donnell said the project has been snowballing for quite some time. 

“We would like to see Jacksonville become a literary hub,” she said. “New York is the one for the North; we could use one in the South.” 

Chamblin said local writing talent is abundant, so publishing will keep him busy in addition to running his stores.

“It’s a lot of work, I’m working seven days a week now,” Chamblin said.

O’Donnell said the anthology is an example of Chamblin's giving back to the community. But they have other plans as well.

“The adult illiteracy rate here is high, so we will also be offering tutoring and creative writing teaching for those interested,” O’Donnell said.

Working with Tim Gilmore of Florida State College at Jacksonville and writer Coe Douglas, O’Donnell plans to form a collective of professors and writing students to help educate adults.

The stores — Chamblin Bookmine (4551 Roosevelt Blvd., Westside, 384-1685) and Chamblin's Uptown (215 N. Laura St., Downtown, 674-0868) …   More

PLAYING AROUND

The Cummer Ball gala will feature chandeliers and glasswork from 36 Jacksonville University glass and ceramics program students, faculty and alumni on March 16 at The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens in Riverside.

The chandeliers will be sold at a live auction during the event with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the museum.

“I’m into engaged learning opportunities, and this is that and more. It allows the students to display what they’ve done, and then to have it critiqued directly in the marketplace, with a sale being the best final critique,” said Brian Frus, a JU assistant professor of glass, according to a press release from the university.

The auction will feature 21-year-old students Aly Volk’s “Iceburst” and Kayla Socha’s “Silly Lilly.”

“I love that we got to do this. We don’t get an opportunity like this anywhere else, to show our work,” Socha said.

Any chandeliers not sold during the ball will be sold at the Cummer’s store afterward.

Donald Mills has five different chandeliers being auctioned off, including “Green Room,” “Plum Purdy” and “Autumn Vines.” Mills said he feels more accomplished knowing that there is a utilitarian aspect to his project.

The ball begins with cocktails at 6 p.m., then the live auction follows at 7 p.m. The evening will continue with dinner and dancing and live music from the Tangee Renee band.

For more information on the JU Glass and Ceramic program visit http://www.ju.edu/cfa. To learn more about the 2013 Cummer Ball, visit http://www.cummer.org/2013-cummer-ball.   More

 
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